Quick planning meeting for election night

La Plaza project renderings, one of the many projects keeping the Planning Commission busy. (Contributed by RRM Design Group)

ATASCADERO — It was an unusual Atascadero City Planning Commission meeting for Commissioner Mark Dariz on Tuesday, Nov. 6 as the City Council candidate waited for polls to close.
Anyone who’s had a job to do while something of relative importance is being decided for them in another room can sympathize and fellow members of the body kept any good-natured razing to a minimum until reports at the end of the meeting during which Dariz asked if, and jokingly, for whom, anyone had voted. That they declined to state.
In the meantime, Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore introduced Assistant Planner Mariah Gasch making her first presentation at such a meeting on the proposal for a conditional use permit for an “oversized accessory structure” at 3425 La Luz Rd.
Otherwise identifiable as a “big metal barn,” the building proposed by applicant Kenneth Klassen has gone through a series of design changes, re-scaling and color palettes to better fit the character of the property, said the project’s engineer.
The garage would be noticeable from the aerial view presented in the slides, at 40 feet by 50 feet, for a total of 2,000 square feet, but attempts would be made to screen the neighbor’s view, explained Gasch’s report. Three native trees would be removed for fire safety reasons, but seven new oak trees and planted tall vegetation were deemed a screen from neighboring properties.
The lot has one existing single-family residence that is 1,650 square feet, with the applicant proposing the larger garage for storage of personal vehicles, and making the agreement not to lease space for storage of commercial vehicles. An existing covered parking structure had the condition added that it either be removed or permitted before finalization of building permits.
One neighbor brought the issue of drainage to the attention of the Commission, noting that, “we never have a typical winter,” she raised the specter of the kind of water table saturation flooding seen on Traffic Way decades ago.
Commissioner Tom Zirk was sympathetic, citing other examples to mind, but Dunsmore noted that those issues should be addressed in the process which brings the plans into compliance with Building Code before the issuance of a construction permit. Any issues occurring after that would be a civil court matter, he said.
The commission granted permission with a unanimous vote before hearing an update from Dunsmore on anticipated development trends at Del Rio Road and El Camino Real.
Issues that will come up for the commision in future meetings include a permit for a new bar called the Colony Tavern, slated to move in next to Nardonnes La Famiglia Pizzeria; a “tiny home” hotel project slated for Del Rio; and an expected application for another more traditional hotel in the area.  
He also added that the La Plaza Hotel project in Downtown has been at the center of much of staff’s activity recently, with work around traffic and underground infrastructure.
Businesses displaced by that project have signed leases elsewhere in the area with the popular Malibu Brew Coffee finding a home near the Sunken Gardens.


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